HIGHLIGHTING your political leanings or party membership won't do you any favours in council elections, a political expert says.
Several Knox Council candidates mentioned in their Weekly survey that they had been a member of a political party — predominantly the Liberal Party.
Baird Ward candidate Garrie James said he was a Liberal Party member, as did Friberg candidates Tony Holland and Blair Darragh. Mr Holland, who has run unsuccessfully in previous council elections, has stood in state elections as both a Liberal and Democrat.
Tirhatuan candidate Nicole Seymour said she was a former Young Liberal and Taylor candidate Darren Pearce, although he didn't disclose it on his survey, ran for Liberal Party pre-selection for the seat of Aston in 2009.
Dobson Ward candidate David Mutch said he was a former members of the Greens. Baird candidate Peter Lockwood, a former ALP state MP for Bayswater, described himself as a "proud member of the ALP".
All candidates who highlighted a political affiliation also stated they were running as independents and not endorsed by a political party.
Knox is a traditional Liberal area. The state MPs for Scoresby, Bayswater and Ferntree Gully are Liberal, and Knox's federal electorate Aston is also held by Liberal Alan Tudge.
Monash University politics senior lecturer Nick Economou says this is because of the high number of small business, higher-than-average incomes and relatively fewer overseas-born residents.
He said the political beliefs of the councillors generally reflected the community's political outlook.
But unlike state or federal elections, highlighting a political party affiliation could be detrimental to a candidate in a council election, Dr Economou said. "You need party endorsement to win at a state or federal elections because there are very large numbers voting."
By contrast, council elections were "very local" and voters preferred to get to know the individual candidate, rather than their political beliefs, he said. "Most people usually figure out a candidate's affiliation anyway."
Neither the Australian Labor Party or Liberal Party formally endorse candidates, but the Greens do.
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